Top considerations for complete, accurate Title I, Part D annual count

What does ED guidance say about obtaining annual counts during the pandemic? Here's a look at that process through the lens of one state, Tennessee.
By: | October 16, 2020
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As the new school year progresses, program coordinators should revisit their obligations in the annual Title I, Part D count coming in October.

As state educational agencies continue to resolve uncertainties related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, officials anticipate there will be no significant changes to Tennessee’s annual count process under Title I, Part D of ESSA.

SEAs are expected to report the number of neglected or delinquent children and youths served by programs under Subpart 1 and Subpart 2 of Title I, Part D.

The U.S. Education Department determines state allocations for Subpart 1 funds based on annual counts of neglected or delinquent children and youths. The department determines Subpart 2 allocations when it calculates annual Title I, Part A allocations to local educational agencies based on the October caseload data—the SEA’s reported number of children and youths, age 5 through age 17, living in local institutions for delinquent children and adult correctional institutions.

Following are considerations outlined in ED guidance for obtaining annual counts under Subpart 1 and Subpart 2.

Title I, Part D, Subpart 1 (state agency)

In determining the count of neglected or delinquent children and youths in a state for allocation purposes, a state agency must specify the date on which the count was taken. The date must: 1) be consistent for all institutions or community day programs operated by the state agency; and 2) represent a school day in the calendar year preceding the year in which funds became available. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), A-1.

From conversations with the Tennessee’s larger Subpart 1 recipient, it appears that their census has not been dramatically impacted by COVID-19, according to Victoria Robinson, director of media for the state’s Department of Education. The state plans to proceed with its originally selected count date in October.

SEAs must adjust the count of children and youths enrolled in a regular education program to reflect the relative length of the state agency’s annual programs. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06). A-1.

To be counted as enrolled, a child must be enrolled in a state-funded regular program of instruction for at least:

  • 20 hours per week if in an institution for neglected or delinquent children or a community day program for neglected or delinquent children; or
  • 15 hours per week if in an adult correctional institution. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), A-1 and A-2.

The state agency is responsible for totaling the adjusted enrollment counts for children and youths in all of the neglected or delinquent institutions, adult correctional facilities, or community day programs that it operates and then for providing the adjusted count to the SEA. The state count submitted to ED by the SEA is the sum of the individual state agency counts. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), A-2.

In Tennessee, the two state agencies receiving funding—the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children’s Services—are treated as local educational agencies for this purpose. Each agency operates one school that generates and receives Subpart 1 funding; they collect and report the data directly to the state.

Note that if out-of-state neglected or delinquent children and youths reside in an institution within a state, those children are eligible to be included in the state’s count, provided those children and youths are: 1) under age 21; and 2) enrolled in a regular instruction program operated or supported by state agencies in institutions, community day programs, and adult correctional institutions as specified in Title I, Part D regulations 34 CFR 200.91(a) and 34 CFR 200.91(b). Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), A-3.

Title I, Part D, Subpart 2 (local education agency)

According to ED, an eligible child or youth under Subpart 2 is a child or youth who must:

  • Be age 5 through 17.
  • Live in a locally operated facility that meets the Subpart 2 definition of an institution for delinquent children and youths or an adult correctional institution in Section 1432(1) or Section 1432(4)(B), and not be counted in the Subpart 1 state agency enrollment data submitted to ED for program allocation purposes.
  • Live in the institution for at least 30 consecutive days, at least one day of which is in October. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), L-2.

Where some children in a locally operated institution are considered neglected and others are considered delinquent, the SEA should look at the purpose of the institution. For example, if the institution was chartered as a facility that serves delinquent children, but most are considered neglected, all the children in that institution should be counted as delinquents. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), L-3.

The SEA may include in its count the out-of-state children and youths residing in locally operated institutions in the count of children in locally operated institutions for delinquent children and adult correctional facilities. The count is based on the October caseload count of any children who reside in the facility regardless of their state of origin. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Youth Nonregulatory Guidance, 120 LRP 5159 (EDU 12/01/06), L-4.

The method for collecting the annual count has not changed the past three years in Tennessee, according to Robinson. Each participating facility or program is provided with the count window and a due date. Their numbers are then reported up to the local education agency, who verifies the numbers and reports them to the state. The state, in turn, reviews and verifies the count before submitting the numbers to ED.

This sort of quality assurance will be key to ensuring the annual count is complete and accurate. LEAs generally review the count submitted by the programs to ensure that it is collected in a timely manner and comparable to the prior year submission. SEAs conduct a second review of the submissions, comparing them to prior years’ submissions.

In Tennessee, if a submission fluctuates by more than 10 percent from one year to the next, the state reaches out to the LEA and the facility to inquire about the fluctuation. Typically, changes in annual count numbers are due to a facility adding more capacity to serve students or limiting its capacity.

Tennessee plans to provide technical assistance for the LEAs and programs in September via a prerecorded webinar, according to Robinson. The state expects to host a follow-up, hour-long live question-and-answer session to answer any specific questions the LEAs or programs may have. Three regional coordinators on the Non-Traditional Educational Programs team will be available to assist LEAs and programs on a one-on-one basis as needed.

Johnny Jackson covers homeless and at-risk students and other Title I issues for TitleIAdmin, a DA sister publication. Documents mentioned above are available to subscribers.